Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Garden Path by Simon Duringer - Scene 2


Frederick Paul, who lived at number 29, was certain as to the source of the disturbance. Through the walls of his living room he regularly heard the neighbours bickering but on this occasion something felt different. The disturbance was far louder than ever before. Against his better judgment, he felt compelled to investigate.

First, he would call the police… “999 Emergency… Which service please?” they had enquired before connecting him. Frederick had been told to stay indoors and await the arrival of the police car, and although it was uncharacteristic of him to ignore such a command, he had ventured outdoors.

The heavy frost made the garden path as slippery as an ice rink, and his every breath created a temporary fog around him; he persevered. His size 11 shoes left visible imprints down the frosted path. Frederick peered up at his neighbours' home, but was unable to see the downstairs windows due to the imposing hedgerow that separated their gardens. From the end of his garden it was merely a few steps to the garden gate of number 31, where Mr and Mrs Smythe lived. He stared at the undisturbed frost on their path. Clearly nobody had walked there for hours. He concluded that the Smythes were probably having another domestic. Mrs Smythe was the only person shrieking and screaming. It put Frederick on edge; his temporary bravado drained away and, sensing the Doppler of sirens already approaching in numbers, he decided to heed the officer’s advice and carefully retreated to the warmth of his own house.

Once back in the comfort of his living room Frederick did not follow the example of his nosey, curtain-twitching neighbours, but nervously sat back at his computer. Attempting to block out the harrowing noise still piercing the living room wall, he returned to the problem he had been attempting to solve for his latest corporate client. He felt no remorse at failing to intervene; the police would soon be at the scene. Another round of bawling echoed through the wall. He thumped his desk and covered his ears, but the noise continued. Why won’t she stop? he thought, callously.

For interview and/or further information please contact Simon:
Mobile: 07449 810583
Twitter: @SimonDuringer
Facebook: Simon Dusty Duringer

Need a read? visit Simon's Amazon Author Page:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Garden Path by Simon Duringer - Scene 1

The Garden Path ©
Simon Duringer
Edited by Jennifer Lyon

For several minutes the ear-piercing shrieks could be heard all down the street before they metamorphosed into an extended period of bawling. It set off a chain reaction amongst the animal population across the estate. Cats screeched, dogs howled and barked, fuelling an atmosphere of terror on what would otherwise have been an ordinary, yet bitterly cold and quiet winter’s night.

Neighbours aplenty were now twitching their curtains, but they saw only darkness and shadows. The shadows, long and menacing to the eye, were provided by a clear and starry sky amplified by the presence of a full moon. There was a heavy frost signifying the undeniable onset of winter. Little could be seen by those looking out into the night from their artificially-lit living rooms. But it didn’t stop them peering between linen curtains to try and glimpse the source of this harrowing noise.

For interview and/or further information please contact Simon:
Mobile: 07449 810583
Twitter: @SimonDuringer
Facebook: Simon Dusty Duringer

Need a read? visit Simon's Amazon Author Page:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Mind the J's and W's - Part 8

An hour later she got up and stretched.  The hotel they were booked in was just a short car ride away from the base.  The driver made good time since no one else was on the road.  She had checked in earlier and showered.  With any luck, this time when she went into her room, she wouldn’t be alone.  She tapped her foot as she waited for the elevator and once in punched the button about three times hoping it would make the damn thing faster; knowing that it wouldn’t.  It had been way too long since they had seen each other, alone.  The closer she got to her room the warmer she felt.  She could almost smell the flowers he must have put out for her. And when she opened her door she could hear the soft jazz he had playing in the background.  Closing the door there was only dimmed light coming from the bedside lamp and she stripped as she quickly moved to the bed where he lay silently.  She fell into his arms as their minds tangled together sharing every bit of each other.
Hours later she woke acutely aware of the soft bed, the comfortable temperature, and the strong warm body beside her.  She was wrapped in his arms and from what she could tell he had been awake for at least the last thirty minutes, watching her.
“Hi,” she said sleepily.
“Hi,” and he stroked her hair, “I’ve missed you.”
“I could tell,” and she wrapped her hand around his middle. 
“Do you make it a habit to jump into bed half naked with strange men?”  They had shared almost everything between their two minds.  The missions and their details were off limits and of course if there was anything they didn’t want the other to know, but there really wasn’t anything in that category that they hadn’t shared.
“Sometimes,” and she smiled lazily, “but only completely naked with you.”  Jan wanted to avoid the next conversation but knew that there was no way she could.
“I know you know, but I think it’s time I tell you,” Jan looked up at him half knowingly and half confused.
“What’s up?”
“I want you to know that, well,” and this time he touched her chin to make sure she was looking into his eyes and his mind, “I love you and I want to marry you.”
“I love you too,” and her smile was tinged with a bit of sadness, “but you know we can’t get married.  They would never allow it.”
“We could try, I want more than promises now,” he pulled her on top of him so she could look down into his eyes and know that he was serious.
“There’ll never be anyone else for me but you,” and he kissed her, “you know that Ward, but we can’t just walk in there and say we are getting married no matter what.”
“You haven’t given me an answer,” and he raised his eyebrows and looked at her, while his hands played up and down her spine.
“I think you know my answer,” and their minds touched again.  He let his lips play along her shoulder.
“I may know it,” and he stopped on one particular spot letting his lips whisper against her skin, “but I want to hear it.”
“Let me think about it at least until after your next assignment is done,” she wanted to say yes; she wanted to forget everything else but this room, this man.  Try as she might, she just couldn’t do it.
“Alright future Mrs. Lowe,” he was disappointed but not defeated, “You have one more month until I get back to Phoenix and then I want a real answer like, yes,” he kissed her again, “and when can we tie the knot?”  He stopped and looked up at her.
“I love you, and I’m so…” and he stopped her.
“Don’t say anything more, I know all the arguments, but I also know that I’m not taking no for an answer this time,” he smiled into her eyes, “We will find a way.  I will be meeting with Bobby and then I am all yours.”
“I think you’re pretty much all mine right now,” and she giggled.
“Now and forever Babs.”

Want more?  Jan and Ward continue to work together.

Read more from Annay Dawson:

Shadows of the Past
Hidden Promises
Treason’s Reward
Gone In An Instant

Author’s Website:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Holiday Treat For You!

A New Series to Start on Fridays!

I am excited to announce a new serialized story for the holiday season. This one is just a snippet of an exciting book by Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez.
Visit their Amazon pages:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mind the J's and W's - Part 7

“Enter your account number,” and Ward spun the machine toward him.  That was the signal.  Three men jumped out of booths that surrounded the eating area.  One went straight for the case and the other two went toward the bodyguards.  Ward jumped up and went down and over the table being careful not to block Jan’s sights.  His mission in all of this was to take Usman in.  What he knew would be useful and whether or not he wanted to tell them Ward would get it out of him. 
All was going as planned, that should have been the first warning as Streak stood up and move quickly toward Errol.  Ward had taken down Usman, and the two bodyguards had been disabled.  He wasn’t quite sure if they were alive or dead and he really didn’t care.  He was to take out Errol and he went for him like a lion.  Pistol whipping him across the forehead he watched as he fell to the ground holding his head.  He wasn’t down for the count though.  With his freehand he reached for his sidearm, but not before Streak could drop his knee onto that arm accompanied by the sound of breaking bone.
“I want it all,” was all he said in Russian to him.  It was Errol’s smile, blood covering his face and making him look all the more evil as the white teeth broke through the crimson red that unnerved him then.  He turned to see it then, another man, one he hadn’t known about; a suicide bomber and he knew he was out of time, they all were.
Jan had opened her thoughts and mind to the entire situation playing out before her eyes.  It was the only way to be prepared and it was then she felt it in amongst all the fear and panic that had started as soon as they had started to take the people down.  The noise was drifting up to the top of the building and mothers were hurrying their children away, but not fast enough.  She got the feeling of total emptiness and devastation.  Ward must have gotten it at the same time and faster he could communicate it to his group faster than words could be spoken he communicated it to Jan. 
Streak wanted to yell, to scream to clear the area before the man would kill them all.  A thousand things went through his mind all at once as if his brain was moving at light speed and his body at a sloth’s pace.  The uranium was safely out of there and that was the only good thought.  Collateral damage on this one was going to suck, but the bright side of it, if there was one, was that he wouldn’t live long enough catch the flack for it.  He wasn’t going down without a fight.  It seemed to take hours for his hand to pull the gun up just a fraction of an inch as he flipped it around in his palm.  The blood on the butt of the gun left it slippery and he felt more than he saw it slide from his grasp.  Then just as suddenly the bomber was down and Ward was on top of him.  Half of his head was missing and Ward had somehow prevented him from pushing the detonator.  There was a price.  He watched as Usman got up and started to run into the crowd.  He then heard the second shot as he watched Usman go down holding his hip.  That’s when it hit him that the sniper, or snipers, had fired.
Jan had punched out the two shots quickly and was now certain her vantage point had been discovered.  She could do no more to help them down there, a point that Ward had stressed inside her head.  He was wanting, no needing, her to get out of there and for once she agreed.  She had used gloves so that she wouldn’t have to wipe the rifle if she had to leave it, and it was obvious she was going to have to leave it.  It wouldn’t make much difference if they tested her clothes for traces of powder, but with any luck it wouldn’t come to that.  Running to the other side of the roof she hid herself behind the loud, archaic cooling units.  She just hoped that Rob was on his way.
The door to the roof banged open, but she could barely hear it over the units.  There were six men fanning out over the roof looking for the gunman.  They immediately went toward the gun that she had left lay on the roof.  They were quick, and they were efficient.  She could tell that from their minds.  The one in command told the others to fan out and search for the shooter.  Jan couldn’t help but think Rob could show up just about anytime.  She pushed out Ward’s worried thoughts as he had too many problems to deal with himself, and she let him know that.  Then she felt Rob’s mind close by.  Even though they couldn’t communicate with each other, he knew she would be looking for his thoughts.
On my way partner, and she smiled.  She started to rub her eyes and luckily she didn’t have to pretend to cry, as she was soaked clear through her burka.
“Out of my way,” the man at the top of the stairs was yelling at one of the officers.  His dialect was perfectly accented, “I know she’s up here hiding.”
“Sir, we are investigating a shooting,” the officer was blunt, “you have to leave.”
“Not until I find my cheating wife,” he pushed past the man, “She deserves the beating she is going to get and she can’t keep hiding from me.”
“Sir,” and before they could stop him again he went right for the cooling units.
“There you are you slut,” and he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her out from under the units, “This time I promise to beat you within an inch of your life.”
“Sir we will have to question her before you leave.  Some one was shot in the market and we need to know if she has anything to do with it or saw anything,” just what they needed; a progressive Afghan man.
“Good luck,” Rob spat out, “She is deaf and dumb and is only good for one thing.”  It took her only seconds to convince the men that she couldn’t hear say anything as they tried to speak, and yell, at her.  She just shook her head in fear and keened when they pulled back the face cover of the burka.  After all, women in this country weren’t supposed to be educated and those who had a handicap were definitely not worth much of anything to their families except for what they could sell them for.  Rob pulled her off the roof and pushed her down the stairs roughly so as not to draw any suspicion.  Once down, they quickly made their way out of the area and headed for the major city of Kabul.
“We’re clear,” he said into his lip mike as he drove away.  This mission was done, all except for the clean up and debriefing.  Moving the lip mike off to the side he spoke again, “Nice shooting, sorry I wasn’t there sooner.  I needed to make our friend a bit more comfortable.”
It was hours later and dark before they had all been debriefed and were off to their rooms for some much needed rest.  Streak was safely back in place at Usman’s compound, they had received a coded transmission.  The uranium was now being safely transported back to the states, and Usman, Errol, and the one bodyguard that had survived were all in custody.  Ward had traveled back with them and he had been gleaning information that was now part of the files that he had already typed and turned in. 
“It’s midnight, go get some rest,” Rob looked at Jan as she reached for another cold cola.
“In a bit,” she smiled and went back to typing her report.
“You’re not meeting with him,” he sounded more like her father and less like her partner.
“You’re probably right,” she didn’t look at him.
“Jan,” his voice chastised her.  She just looked at her work.
“Okay,” she replied.
“Damn,” and he pushed up from his chair.  Starting to leave the make-shift offices they had been given on the base he stopped, “He’s going to hurt you.  He’s got to live by the same rules and worse yet he believes in them.  You’re already too connected.  Don’t get yourself hurt,” he hadn’t even turned to talk with her.  He couldn’t bear to look at her and think that she might actually want a forever with someone.  They had all agreed to the rules; they all knew the score on this one.  She could go have fun, but don’t connect.  Problem was, there was a connection.  The PED had discovered their mutual attraction, researched it, and then decided to have their handlers nix it.  He’d tried but not very hard.  What he didn’t know was if Ward felt the same way about Jan.  He should report it, what she was about to do, that was his job, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.  His head dropped a little as well as his shoulders.
         “I’ll be careful,” she said it so quietly he almost didn’t hear her.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mind the J's and W's - Part 6

No one knows that we have been able to talk with each other unless, and he felt her negative response. Being able to talk with you on this one is essential Babs, otherwise I wouldn’t have called you in.  I’d far prefer you someplace safer than here right now.
Let’s not get into that right now, the meeting was wrapping up.  They were all gathering up their things and getting into smaller groups.  She needed to talk to the other sniper on this mission.
I want you to be covering Usman and me; you got it? It wasn’t really a question, he was serious about having her sights trained on him.
I’ve got a great place in Kabul just waiting for us, and his mind drifted off to better things.
Right now that will have to wait until after the op, Jan stood and followed Rob out of the room behind the other sniper.
Two days later she sat on the roof of the government offices that were just to the south of the eating area they were to meet in.  Getting into and through the offices hadn’t been easy, but she had been able to do it with just a little diversion on Rob’s part.  As he had approached the counter through the mobs of people she had slowly slid off to the side of the group and when he had started to get loud she just followed some of the officials up and out of the ensuing chaos.  Ward knew which seats he needed to be in or out of for her to do her job.  She had had time to set up the rifle under the burka and now she just waited as all of her bodily fluids slowly dripped from each and every pore ready at any moment to pull the burka back and fire.
She watched as Streak sat at a table about six feet away sipping coffee as if he was there for the ambiance.  Although she was reading his mind she could tell that Usman had put him there as backup to watch for a setup.  He sipped his coffee, looked around, and then set the cup down carefully.  The cup landed in exactly the same spot each time.  He was to use the cup as a compass and depending how far away he put the cup it would let them know the distance they were looking at.  So far, he hadn’t spotted a one of them and she didn’t just know that from the cup.  Streak was really wondering where the group was.  The first priority was to get the uranium into their hands, second was to secure Usman and Errol the brains of the group, third was to make sure that collateral damage was low, and if they had time to secure the compound itself.  That would take a small army and that was why it was placed last on the list.  If they took out the boss and didn’t take out the fortress, then the whole plan would be for nothing.  Another small wannabe within the unit would just take it over.  The plan was to rely on Streak to take it over and dismantle it from within. 
“Any movements?” Jan whispered into her lipmike. 
“Not yet,” came the reply, “Wait.”  It was nearly impossible to stay still knowing that it was just about to happen.  Jan was getting something as well.  The energy was changing in the area.  She could feel Usman’s men entering the area from all corners.  She was only worried about the one who was headed toward her area.
“I’ve got one headed my way,” Jan whispered.
“I’m on him,” that was Rob she heard and she smiled.   There was no way he would let him get close and she let her breath out again. 
Let’s get this rolling, Ward’s comment to Jan as he pointed out Usman to her.  Neither one spoke as he walked up and took a seat setting down a large case beside his chair.  Errol took a seat at the next table.  Each man had another man beside him that resembled a wall.  Ward took out the small handheld he carried and placed it on the table without saying a word.  Usman didn’t seem to move but he looked at all of his men in turn.  He must have gotten the answer he wanted because he decided to start the conversation.
“I am here, and you have been wise just to come with your one body guard,” Usman looked arrogant.  “The last man was not so wise which was why I had to change the place and time.  He was aligned with the CIA and was not well, let’s say,” and he smiled, “not going to return to them in one piece after he tried to deal with me.”
“I don’t care about your problems,” and Ward turned on his handheld, “I want what I came for.”
          “And you will have it,” Jan kept Usman’s bodyguard in her crosshairs.  He was the one who was ready to kill, “As soon as I have my money.”